The system for supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disability in Wales is changing.

The Welsh Government is bringing in a new, simpler and more responsive system of meeting the needs of children with special educational needs or disabilities. The new system puts the learner at the heart of everything that happens. It will be brought in gradually over the next few years (2021 -2024).

The Welsh Government is planning a phased introduction of the new system from September 1st 2021.  This means there will be ‘two systems’ operating alongside each other from September 2021-2024, the new ALN system and the original SEN system. 

September 1st 2021 onwards

For those children who are or are newly identified as having additional learning needs, (that is, those without already identified special educational needs (SEN), or are not awaiting or undergoing an SEN assessment), will still move to the new ALN system from 1 September2021

January 1st 2022 onwards

Children who attend a maintained school (including a PRU) and who have already identified SEN via school action or school action plus, the new system will apply from 1 January 2022, instead of 1 September 2021.

Key Messages:

  • The term Additional Learning Needs (ALN) will replace the terms Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LDD). It is when additional learning provision (ALP) is required to support their education that a child or young person will be identified as having ALN.
  • Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCos) in schools will now be called Additional Learning Needs Coordinators (ALNCos)
  • The new Code for the new system will cover children and young people aged 0-25. This means that early years, further education colleges and further independent specialist colleges will now also be included (but not higher education or apprenticeships.)
  • Emphasis will be on high aspirations and better outcomes for children and young people with Additional Learning Needs (ALN).
  • The current graduated system of Early Years Action, Early Years Action Plus and Statements is being replaced.
  • Most Statements will be transferred to become Individual Development Plans over the next 3 years.  The Welsh Government are hoping that all LAs will have completed this process for children with statements living in their area by Sept 2024. Any existing statements will continue to be legal documents until replaced by an IDP or until the local authority tells you that it intends to end a statement.

  • All children and young people with ALN will have an Individual Development Plan (IDP). The IDP will replace all other individual plans. IDPs for children under compulsory school age will be maintained by local authorities.

  • The current phased system of School Action, School Action Plus and Statements will disappear, and all children and young people thought to have ALN will receive an Individual Development Plan (IDP). The IDP will replace Individual Education Plans (IEPs), Individual Behaviour Plans (IBPs) or Individual Play Plans (IPPs).
  • Most Individual Development Plans will be maintained by the school, but where it is considered unreasonable for the school to do so, the Local Authority may maintain them.
  • There will be much more opportunity for children, young people, parents and carers to contribute to the creation and maintenance of Individual Development Plans through Person Centred Planning.
  • It is hoped that working together more closely should help to avoid unnecessary disagreements.
  • All reasonable steps will be taken to ensure Welsh language provision if required 
  • All children and young people who have an Individual Development Plan will have an equal right to appeal to tribunal.
  • Not all Year Groups will begin to  transfer from l January 2022 as the transfer to the new system is staggered across year groups.
  • In addition to the mandated transfer dates, children and their parents  can ask their school to move them to the new system at any time from 1 January 2022 onwards.  Similarly, children (and their parents) with a SEN statement can ask their local authority to transfer them to the new system from the same date.  In both cases, the request must be complied with and the transfer is effective from the date the request is made.

If things are ok for your child, they are happy and making good progress – there is no need to do anything.  If you have concerns about your child’s progress work with your school to discuss your concerns. 

You can also contact our SNAP Cymru Helpline for advice 0808 801 0608.

SNAP Cymru will share further information with yourselves and provide reassurance about the transformation program and implementation as we receive more information from the Welsh Government this October.

For more detailed information see here:

https://www.snapcymru.org/sen-is-changing/